I’ve got an object lesson for you today, so let’s start with a story:
I recently bought a new camera (a Nikon D40 DSLR, which I love, thank you), but I’m irritated with Adorama camera. Even though we’re in different states, they charged me sales tax. I sent an e-mail to amazon.com who agreed that it should not have been charged, but that I’d need to contact Adorama directly, which I did. Now, I’m all kinds of happy with my actual order and I can’t fault their order fulfillment, but . . . my God, who do they have doing their customer service??
This is the reply I got back (with misspellings, bad typing, and multi-colors intact):
I am really sorry, but every one have to pay sales taxes, the difference on how much, it will depend on where the shipping address is.
For example I have an overseas credit card, when I use it here in NY either if I choose pick it up at the store or that they deliver it to me , I always pay 8.13%.
Also you please check Sales taxes in the United States – New Jersey has a 7% state sales tax. This is split as 3.5% for the State, and 3.5% for the municipality.
Um, ack! Completely disregarding the lack of a helpful response (i.e., the answer I want (grin)), this is one of the most badly-written, appallingly atrocious e-mails I have ever received. Really. Ever.
Think about how badly this makes Adorama look. I’m not happy about the $45 sales tax, but I am absolutely appalled at the verbal skills of this person from “On line customer services,” who doesn’t even seem to know that “online” is one word, or that titles and department names are usually capitalized. (The fact that she so nicely/patronizingly gave me a link to Wikipedia informing me that NJ has its own sales tax didn’t help matters. Gosh, really? I’ve never bought anything here ever in my life and hadn’t realized. SO helpful.) My verdict on Adorama? Great camera and very prompt service which I appreciated and can’t fault, but their follow-through and customer service?? Oy. Awful.
Which just goes to show–it doesn’t matter how good a service you provide, how well you fulfill that service IF you don’t back it up with a professional appearance. Good grammar may not be the most important thing in the world, but just like a clean appearance, a friendly smile, and decent manners … its absence sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s what people are going to remember. Years from now, I might remember how quickly I got my camera in the mail, but I will absolutely remember the terrible e-mail I got from customer service. Not only that, but if I needed to place another camera order right now? I’d be more inclined to patronize a company whose employees show a reasonable grasp of the language.
You might say, but didn’t this employee got her point across? Yes, she did, but she left a bad impression. If there had been one typo in there, I would have chalked it up to a simple error. Everyone makes mistakes, and people are busy, yes, yes, but with this many? Not to mention the sloppy visual of the bad typing with double spaces between words, and the multiple colors? Not very professional.
And that is exactly the point. End of lesson.